Posted on September 17 2016
Cleanliness is indeed important when there’s a new baby in the household (stockpile the hand sanitizer!), but what about newborns and bathing? Many parents think that washing the baby every day is essential to their good health and hygiene, but the reality is you don’t have to be turning on the bath water every day. So how often should you bath a baby? Here, all you need to know about babies and bath time.
How Often to Bathe a Newborn
Ok ready for this. Your newborn baby doesn’t actually need a bath every day. “Baby skin is incredibly sensitive and has not developed a strong barrier to maintain its moisture, meaning it loses hydration much quicker than that of an adult,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a new mom herself. “Every time you bathe your baby, water washes away the natural hydrating oils making them more prone to dry and irritated skin.” By bathing baby any more than a couple times a week, you’re inviting dry skin, irritation and even potential rashes. Dr. Nazarian advises to bathe baby no more than two to three times per week and make the bath on the shorter side—10 minutes at the most.
Keep it Clean—and Safe! How to Wash Baby in the Bath
One of the most important aspects of a baby bath is the temperature of the water. The ideal temperature for your baby’s bath should be comfortably warm. Experts recommend keeping it at around 90 degrees fahrenheit. Test the temp before placing baby inside the bath by dipping your wrist or elbow into the water. When cleaning baby, spend the majority of your time on the spots that tend to need it the most.“Focus on areas that really require cleaning, such as the face the neck and the groin,” says Dr. Nazarian. Especially getting into those adorable folds where formula and milk love to hide. “A soft cloth can be used to clean the skin, with very gentle pressure,” advises Dr. Nazarian. “After you’ve finished bathing your baby, pat dry (vigorous toweling off irritates the skin further) and apply a good emollient ointment to lock in moisture and protect the skin.”
Tips on Bathing a Newborn
Bath time with baby presents its own set of challenges, but with some tips and tricks—and some practice—you’ll be master the art of baby-washing! Here, the best ways to ace bath time with your baby:
- Choose a time you’re trying to tackle a million things at once. Whether its early morning or in the evening before bedtime, make sure you’re focused on the task at hand.
- Don’t rush it! Bathing a baby the right way takes time. Set aside a chunk of time to allow you to get it done without frustration.
- Turn off your phone. Now is not the time to check your Instagram feed. Not fully attending to your baby is dangerous and puts them in harm’s way.
- Make sure your supplies are all within arm’s reach. Set out a washcloth, towel, body wash, shampoo, a cup for rinsing and any other baby bath time essentials nearby prior to putting baby in the bath.
- Stock up on gentle, baby-friendly body wash and shampoo. Make your life easier and find a multitasking all-in-one baby shampoo and wash, such as Babo Botanicals 3-in-1 Calming Shampoo, Bubble Bath and Wash.
- Keep baby warm and happy by only exposing the body parts you’re washing to the air. And speaking of keeping them warm, make sure you’re using a water level that covers baby’s shoulders. The general rule is using 2-3 inches of warm water for bathing a baby.
- Hold onto your baby at all times in the bath. Use your hands to support the head and neck, while your arm should be kept around the baby’s back throughout the bath.
- If your baby has cradle cap or eczema, be sure you’re using the right shampoo and wash for their skin. Look for naturally moisturizing ingredients, such as oat milk and calendula. Try Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash, which was made specifically for dry and sensitive skin on babies.